Why Adoption? Why Ethiopia?

People always want to know what led adoptive families to adoption, and if they adopted internationally, what led them to a particular country. Sometimes this is asked nicely out of genuine curiosity, sometimes it’s asked not so nicely and meant as an attack. I always try to answer truthfully, even if it’s not the answer people were looking for. So, if you know me and you’re wondering why we chose to adopt, here goes.

I always wanted to adopt a child. Always. I don’t remember a time I didn’t want  to adopt. My dad was adopted and his parents (my grandparents) were the most amazing grandparents a kid could have hoped for. They were fun and funny and always had projects lined up to do with us and my grandpa let me use the photocopier and typewriter in his office whenever I wanted. My grandmother cooked great food and crafted like nobody’s business. My grandmother was quite a bit older than my grandfather and shortly after they were married he went off to WWII, so by the time he was home, she was in her 40s and wasn’t able to get pregnant. They adopted my dad out of an orphanage in Maine. They never hid this fact from him (even though that was the norm at the time) and they always celebrated the way he came into the family. I think their exuberance for adoption fueled my exuberance for it.

I also grew up in the 80s and had a lot of Cabbage Patch Kids–Adopted baby dolls! With adoption paperwork and everything! So I guess it was coming at me from all angles.

When I met my husband in college I believe I informed him somewhere around our third date that I would be adopting a child at some point. And then I told his entire family–just so they wouldn’t be shocked when–10 years later–we were actually married and adopting our first child. Bryan and I spent many years travelling the world, whenever we had the time and money to visit somewhere cool. We travelled off the beaten path and in countries that made our families nervous, but we always had such a great time–and we always, always met amazing children living in unfortunate circumstances. Children my husband would let climb all over him–he knows how to make a girl swoon. Throwing out the “this is how I’ll be as a daddy!” card. KEEPER!

So, right after we got married we were flying back to NY, where we both grew up, to have a second wedding reception for the people who couldn’t make it to CO for the real wedding. On the plane I read this article in the free magazine from the airline about a family who’d adopted from China, and I just lost it and started crying and told Bryan we needed to adopt a kid right.this.minute. We’d planned to try and have a biological kiddo first, so this kinda came out of left field. He kinda stared at me and was like “Can we just talk about his later?” and I kept crying. When we got home from NY we had lots of long talks and finally decided to at least look into adoption.

Domestic adoption was never on our radar–everything we read talked of the uncertainty involved, and we just weren’t up for that, so we decided very quickly to go the international route. I know there are plenty of kids right here in the US who need families (my dad was one of them, remember?), but it wasn’t right for us. We made a list of all the countries open to international adoption, along with all of their requirements. Many of the requirements excluded us–we weren’t married long enough or we were too young–and in the end we weren’t left with a ton of options, but Ethiopia was on the list and it kept jumping out at us as the right choice. The children were happy and healthy and the caregivers do an amazing job. The culture was very interesting to us and one we could totally “adopt” for our family. After much talk, we decided Ethiopia was right for us and began the adoption process.

We couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out–we have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing Ethiopian daughter, and 5 months ago I gave birth to our adorable, happy, sweet son.

–Danielle

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